A global matter
Conservation of Earth's natural resources is one of the most important global issues of our time. Dwindling aquifer supplies, global climate changes, and increased demand have caused water to become one of our most guarded resources.
Lawn and garden watering make up nearly 40 percent of total household water use during the summer. Have you ever wondered why a 30-minute summer shower does more to green your lawn than three days of watering? It's because the salts and minerals commonly found in tap water are absent from rainwater. The absence of these minerals enables lawns to absorb moisture more efficiently, and as a result, grass requires less water to stay green. By using a rain barrel catchment system and following these water-saving tips, your lawn will become the envy of the neighborhood - and you'll cut your water consumption in half.
- Use a rain barrel to collect water and store it for when you need it most - during periods of drought. Rain barrels are highly effective. A 1000-square-foot catchment area yields 600 gallons per inch of rainfall. Decorative rain barrels not only collect valuable rain water but are designed to bring an attractive element to homes and lawns. Although the most common plastic rain barrel size is 55 gallons, residential storage units range from small 15-gallon models to larger commercial sizes designed to hold up to 1,000 gallons. Some modular cisterns designed for larger agricultural and industrial operations have even greater storage capacities.
- Reseed your lawn with a drought-resistant grass variety such as St. Augustine, Bermuda, or Zoysia. Some strains of Fescue may also be acceptable. Avoid broad-blade grasses such as the common Bluegrass varieties which have high water requirements.
- Water in the early evening. Cooler temperatures and less sunlight give water a chance to soak into the root system before evaporation takes place. Also avoid watering during high winds.
- Water thoroughly but less often to stimulate deeper root growth.
- Adjust your mower to cut slightly higher (0.5 to 1 inch). Slightly taller lawn growth promotes deeper roots and offers cooling ground cover.
- Leave your grass clippings to remain on the lawn. Lawn clippings are a valuable source of nitrogen and are a great way to naturally fertilize your yard. Clippings also help slow moisture loss due to evaporation.
You'll be amazed at how easy conservation can be. Following these simple changes will make a big difference in your own backyard, as well as in the world.